Tank Failures in Hemingford Under Investigation
210,000 Gallons of Liquid Fertilize Spilled
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
Nine tanks containing a total of 210,000 gallons of the liquid fertilizer ammonium polyphosphate and 40,000 gallons of water, failed in Hemingford last Wednesday, causing a spill that led to a quick response from businesses, first responders and the community as a whole to clean up the leak.
The tanks that failed belong to Farmer’s Coop in Hemingford. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality was notified of the spill, and the incident is under investigation.
“We’re still in the process of cleaning up,” said Coop General Manager Bart Moseman. “We still don’t know exactly why it happened, so we’re still working on that too.”
Hemingford Volunteer Fire Department Chief Shad Bryner said they aided in the response, noting that no one was injured in the spill. He said the area where the spill occurred poses no threat to the village.
“We were called out about 9 a.m. the morning that it happened. It was a failure of multiple containment tanks. We responded and assisted Farmer’s Coop with containment and doing an evaluation of overall safety. At this time, there’s no present hazard to the public.
Moseman is grateful for the way the community pulled together to help Farmer’s Coop.
“It was just awesome to see our neighbors and our competitors come to our aid,” said Moseman. “WESTCO sent trucks, Simplot sent trucks, and Panhandle Coop sent trucks as we were trying to pump this liquid fertilizer. We had it diked up and we were trying to pick it up as best we could. With our tanks being destroyed, fortunately WESTCO had a tank in Alliance where we could take the stuff we reclaimed off the ground. I give my sincere thanks to WESTCO, Panhandle and Simplot for helping us out. I’d also like to thank the Hemingford Fire Department, the Hemingford police department and the village of Hemingford, because their employees helped out. They were all great.”
Moseman hopes to keep moving forward and recovering from the spill. He hopes to be able to serve customers again soon.
“Moving forward, right now, we’re just trying to get things put together so we can service our customers through the spring season. We’re hoping within days to be up and running to where if a customer needed a fertilizer, we could give it to them. The overall fix is going to be much longer than that, because potentially a new tank might have to be built. There are just a lot of unknowns right now.”